For Schools

Success Story: Texas Tech University

Case Study | September 11, 2018

ScholarNet Brings Easy User Interface, Excellent Customer Service to Texas Tech

An easier user interface and outstanding customer service from Great Lakes were the driving factors behind a change from ELM to ScholarNet at Texas Tech University. Christy Miller, Director of Student Financial Aid, Reporting and Systems Processing, had been in her position at Texas Tech less than a year when she made the change.

Her financial aid office applauded Christy’s decision. Nathan Wall, Assistant Director of Student Financial Aid, Loan Processing, appreciates that ScholarNet’s flow and functionality is more user-friendly than ELM. Cameron Graham adds that ScholarNet allows real-time viewing that makes ScholarNet feel “less stiff” and more flexible than ELM. Cameron is Advisor of Loan Processing for Student Financial Aid at Texas Tech.

Numerous Customization Options With ScholarNet

Cameron’s Great Lakes rep joked that Cameron had more custom SmartSearches set up than all the other people in the world combined. Cameron defends the title by saying that he finds it extremely helpful to be able to just click on a lender name and find a list that saves him multiple steps. Nathan adds that the ability to customize and run reports on the fly is another great benefit of ScholarNet.

In the Utilities section of ScholarNet, school users can create templates for different loan periods and disbursements. Cameron appreciates that he can “choose what to include and how to arrange my spreadsheets in a way that works for me.”

ScholarNet’s Easy User Interface Makes Training Easier

With ScholarNet’s intuitive interface, the Texas Tech team says they can enlist help from people who normally don’t award a lot of private loans because training is so much easier. “All they have to know is what to click, key in their info, and submit,” says Cameron.

ScholarNet highlights next steps and basically walks them through the process, Christy adds. She notes that, with a new student worker starting in the financial aid office, it will be an interesting test to see if they can get additional help with private loan processing to free up Nathan and Cameron for handling more complicated tasks.

Time Savings, With More to Come

Cameron says that using ScholarNet for processing shaves off a few seconds for each loan, which may not sound like much. “Given our loan volume—particularly at this time of year—this adds up to a substantial time savings,” he adds. In addition, ScholarNet flags keying and CommonLine errors before you can submit them, further saving time. Adds Cameron, “After processing 100 or more loans in a day, I start getting pretty tired. It’s nice that ScholarNet flags errors for me.” This reduction of errors also reduces the number of modifications that need to be made later.

Christy notes that Texas Tech is in just the first phase of streamlining their private loan processing with ScholarNet. When they start using ScholarNet’s ability to import files from their school’s system, they know their time savings from using the solution will be even more significant.

Transition So Easy, It’s Seamless

While Christy was very impressed with the ScholarNet product, she really worried about how implementation would go. She said it was scary making the transition while getting ready for summer awarding. Great Lakes reassured her that it would be fine, and provided helpful personal interaction during the setup. Christy notes that the change was “so easy—it was seamless. One day it was off, and the next day it was on.”

Customer Service Exceeds Expectations

In the past, resolving any processing issues could be challenging. She says Great Lakes’ responsiveness makes it easy for any questions or issues to be cleared up in one phone call. The Texas Tech team also points out that they were never contacted proactively by the ELM team. They really appreciate having a person feed them useful information without them having to ask for it.

Users’ suggestions to their Great Lakes representatives drive many of the enhancements that have been made to ScholarNet over time. When prompted to provide suggestions, the Texas Tech team gave us some useful feedback to share with the Great Lakes development team. Upon asking them whether there are any other resources Great Lakes can provide to support ScholarNet, Christy quips, “Fame and stardom?”

To Christy, Nathan, and Cameron—this is our attempt to answer that request. We know it’s unlikely to bring fame to you, but we hope sharing your story will help other financial aid offices see how they can use ScholarNet to make private loan processing better and easier for all involved.

Interested in learning more about streamlining private loans at your school? Contact your Great Lakes representative to discuss your needs. If you have a story to share about how you’re using ScholarNet or FastChoice to simplify private loan processing, email us.

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